Sacred Heart Greenwich has donated an eight-acre keystone property to the Greenwich Land Trust to connect 165 acres of protected open space along the Byram River. Bordered by previously protected preserves, the eight-acre parcel creates a significant, continuous greenway and wildlife corridor in this important watershed.
“We are excited to contribute to the preservation of such a unique and precious resource that is so important to the community,” said Pamela Juan Hayes, head of school for the all-girls’ Catholic, independent day school. “We are pleased to partner with Greenwich Land Trust and be part of their tradition of open space protection and stewardship. This gift underscores the foundational principles of Sacred Heart Greenwich’s mission, which includes teaching respect for creation and preparing our students to be stewards of the Earth’s resources, while building a global awareness of the issues surrounding human development.”
“Sacred Heart Greenwich gives our community a priceless gift that will forever help protect this watershed and all the benefits it offers,” said Matt Bostock, president of Greenwich Land Trust. “We are grateful for their commitment to the community and for their collaboration as we seek to preserve these last great tracts of open space.”
Congressman Jim Himes praised the gift, saying, "The future will judge us by how well we fulfill our role as stewards of the Earth. In Connecticut, we are blessed with incredible natural beauty and open spaces, but these delicate places need our protection on the federal, state and local levels. By its action today, Sacred Heart Greenwich is setting a shining example, teaching its students the importance of preserving the environment for generations to come. These protected areas create something much larger than the sum of their parts with many economic, ecological and social advantages for the community."
Sacred Heart Greenwich, which was founded in 1848, is donating eight acres of its 118-acre campus located at 1177 King Street, in Greenwich, Connecticut. The school will retain access to the Byram River for its Lower, Middle and Upper Schools’ science classes to enable students to pursue their studies and research of the natural environment. “The science teachers are looking forward to this new partnership with the Land Trust to continue studies of wildlife, invasive species, ecological systems, water quality monitoring, trout conservation, as well as other independent projects in our award-winning Science Research Program,” said Upper School science department co-chairs Amy Dillane and Mary Musolino.
The new preserve, while varied in habitat and topography, is dominated by a forest of eastern hemlock and chestnut oak growing among steep slopes and rock outcrops. Its many large, mature trees form a dense canopy that help reduce opportunity for invasive plants to become established. The healthy understory includes lush swaths of ferns and stands of mountain laurel. It is a uniquely pristine tract that provides vital wildlife habitat and many educational opportunities for the community.
The main stem of the Byram River is estimated to be about 20 miles long, beginning in North Castle, New York and draining into Long Island Sound at the state border in Port Chester, New York. Many government and conservation entities have collaborated to protect the watershed.
Greenwich First Selectman Peter J. Tesei applauded the announcement. “This donation by Sacred Heart Greenwich ensures not only a partnership between two highly respected institutions, it also guarantees a lasting legacy that generations of current and future students and nature lovers will be able to study and enjoy,” Mr. Tesei said.